Ravens-Browns: Week 1 Preview, Prediction

Ravens heavily favored at home
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Week 1: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens 

When

Sunday, Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium

Spread

Ravens +7.5

Series History

Ravens lead the all-time regular-season series 31-11, The team split their 2019 meeting with the visiting team winning each time. The Ravens are 16-5 in games played in Baltimore. The Ravens are 15-6 in Cleveland.

Ravens-Browns Series History / Since 2008

 Date —         Location —   Result 

09/21/08 — Baltimore — Ravens, 28-10 

11/02/08 — Cleveland — Ravens, 37-27 

09/27/09 — Baltimore — Ravens, 34-3 

11/16/09 — Cleveland — Ravens, 16-0 

09/26/10 — Baltimore — Ravens, 24-17 

12/26/10 — Cleveland — Ravens, 20-10 

12/04/11 — Cleveland — Ravens, 24-10 

12/24/11 — Baltimore — Ravens, 20-14 

09/27/12 Baltimore Ravens, 23-16 

11/04/12 — Cleveland — Ravens, 25-15 

09/15/13 — Baltimore — Ravens, 14-6 

11/03/13 — Cleveland — Browns, 24-18 

09/21/14 — Cleveland — Ravens, 23-21 

12-28-14 — Baltimore — Ravens, 20-10 

10/11/15 — Baltimore — Browns, 33-30 (OT) 

11/30/15 — Cleveland — Ravens, 33-27 

09/18/16 — Cleveland — Ravens, 25-20 

11/10/16 — Baltimore — Ravens, 28-7 

09/17/17 — Baltimore — Ravens, 24-10 

12/17/17 — Cleveland — Ravens, 27-10 

10/07/18 — Cleveland — Browns, 12-9 (OT) 

12/30/18 — Baltimore — Ravens, 26-24 

09/29/19 — Baltimore — Browns, 40-25 

12/22/19 — Cleveland — Ravens, 31-15 

By the Numbers

7 — Times in NFL history two teammates each rushed for 1,000 yards in a season, including quarterback Lamar Jackson (1,206) and running back Mark Ingram II (1,018) in 2019 (Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart did it last in 2009.) 

Notable

Over the past 24 years, the Ravens have drafted an NFL-best 15 players who went on to earn AP first-team All-Pro honors. When including undrafted rookie kicker Justin Tucker, Baltimore has produced 16 “homegrown” Associated Press first-team All-Pro selections. 

Player Spotlight

Calais Campbell

The Ravens acquired the Pro Bowl defensive end from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a fifth-round pick in 2020. Campbell has played in 186 games (168 starts), recording 687 total tackles, 88 sacks, 48 passes defensed, 14 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries and three interceptions over his 12-year NFL career. Originally selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round of the 2008 draft, Campbell played nine seasons (2008-16) in Arizona and then the past three seasons (2017-19) with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He earned Pro Bowl honors in all three seasons with Jacksonville.

Ravens Game Plan

Offense

The Ravens set the NFL single-season rushing record last season with 3,296 yards on a league-high 596 carries. All three of Baltimore's running backs — Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill — are still on the roster from last season. The team added more talent with J.K. Dobbins in the second round of this year's NFL draft. 

Last year, Jackson had one of the most successful regular seasons by any quarterback in NFL history. He completed 265 of 401 passes for 3,127 yards and an NFL-high 36 touchdowns, which was also a franchise record. Jackson also finished with 1,206 yards rushing — sixth-best in the league and the most by a quarterback in NFL single-season history. Expectations are even higher with him entering his third year.

Look for the Ravens to set the tone on the ground against the Browns, Jackson will also take some shots downfield with wide receiver Marquise Brown, who is fully healthy after dealing with a foot injury last year. 

Defense

Cleveland running back Nick Chubb gashed the Ravens for 165 yards and three touchdowns in their first meeting last season. Chubb will get plenty of opportunities to run the ball again, but this time he'll have to deal with Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, and Brandon Williams, who moved to nose tackle. Chubb is one of the league's emerging stars. He was second in the NFL with 1,494 yards rushing with eight touchdowns in just his second year.

The Ravens have one of the best secondaries in the league and they'll face a tough challenge right against Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. The Ravens should be able to put more pressure on quarterback Baker Mayfield. 

DeShon Elliott will make his first start at safety in place of Earl Thomas, who had his contract terminated last month. The Ravens players are confident Elliott is a better fit into the system. 

New Browns coach Kevin Stefanski has four tight ends on the roster, including newly acquired Austin Hooper, and he will rely heavily on multiple sets. Stefanski will use the tight ends to help the running game as well as play-action passing. This will be a big test for Ravens rookie linebacker Patrick Queen, who will make his pro debut because there were no preseason games. 

Prediction

Both the Ravens and Browns could have some issues getting into a rhythm, especially on offense because it's the first time they've seen live-action. The Ravens have some continuity, whereas the Browns will be adjusting to a new staff. The teams do know one another from playing in the same division so that could help with the game-planning. The Ravens will make enough play to pull out the victory.

Final Score: Ravens 27, Browns 23